Wednesday 7th May 2014 – American Hi-Fi w / The Hype Theory and Sykes at The 100 Club, London

American Hi-Fi were one of my personal favourite bands in the early 2000’s (and beyond). Despite a couple of reasonable sized hits in the US and some key appearances on soundtracks of films that were cult classics on either side of the Atlantic, the band didn’t have the same recognition that some of their peers enjoyed in the UK. It wasn’t until Bowling For Soup brought them across the pond as a support act in 2005 that I finally got to see them live.

I didn’t get chance again until this show, nine years later in 2014. Other than releasing an album in 2010 the band were largely inactive during this time. Frontman Stacy Jones got a full time gig as the musical director with Miley Cyrus’ touring crew. It’s because of Miley that this one-off show in London came about. She played the O2 Arena the night before and somehow, American Hi-Fi managed to work it to play this gig on a “night off”, in support of their soon to be released Blood and Lemonade album on Rude Records.

This was my first and only time at the legendary 100 Club on Oxford Street. I must have walked past it a million times and missed it’s unimposing door to the basement venue at street level. When Sam and I got off the tube at Tottenham Court Road (filled with all it’s memories from years of Astoria shows), the left turn on to Oxford Street was closed off by police.

We could see that the cordon stretched some distance down the road and we weren’t entirely sure if we’d even be able to access the 100 Club. It was a midweek trip up to London and, as per usual, we hadn’t left ourselves with a lot of breathing space to get there in time. As we tried to navigate side streets to bring us out further down Oxford Street I did begin to panic. Fortunately we did eventually manage to overshoot the closure and the venue itself was outside of this.

The band made up for the years of being away with a long set, which included Allison the new single that had dropped the same day, as well as Golden State which went on to be the second track released from the upcoming album. With both of these songs it was clear that they were picking up exactly where they’d left off. A successful balance of sounding fresh, yet exactly like American Hi-Fi.

Interestingly, the set didn’t include any songs from their Hearts On Parade album. I loved this Butch Walker produced album at the time of release, and still do. It is a bit of an anomaly in their back catalogue though and I wonder if the band had chosen to distance themselves from what did seem to be a slight change in direction, even if it wasn’t a total departure from the two previous records.

The next time I spotted a news article about Miley being spotted leaving a London club. It caught my attention, given her connection to American Hi-Fi and I clicked to read. Very quickly I realised it was in fact the 100 Club. We had been stood a few people apart from one of the biggest pop stars of our generation for 2 hours and not realised it. That says a lot about either how unobservant I am, or how pleased I was to be seeing one of my favourite bands again. A bit of both probably.

Here, see if you can spot me, or Miley.

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